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Biden WILL visit Saudi Arabia: President to meet leader MBS next month

President Joe Biden will visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on July 15 and 16 in order to repair the relations between the US and the second largest holder of petroleum reserves in the world. 

The president will meet with Mohammed bin Salman and other ‘Gulf leaders’ to discuss Iran, Yemen and oil prices, reports NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.

The trip comes as gas prices in the US continue to surge, a key domestic issue Biden hopes to tackle as midterm elections loom.

Over the weekend, the national average gas price officially reached $5 a gallon for the first time in American history. 

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of oil, and as a key member of OPEC plays a large part in setting oil prices worldwide. 

Mitchell also reported that one of Biden’s goals was to repair the relationship between Biden and bin Salman, after the president called the nation a ‘pariah’ following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamaal Khashoggi, whose death has been widely blamed on Saudi Arabia.

President Biden was also quoted as saying that another of his goals was to repair the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia – which does does not currently recognize the U.S. ally’s existence.  

The president will meet with Mohammed bin Salman and other ‘Gulf leaders’ to discuss Iran, Yemen and oil prices

In September 2021 when Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to the Kingdom to meet with bin Salman, the crown prince began shouting at Sullivan when Khashoggi's murder was brought up

In September 2021 when Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to the Kingdom to meet with bin Salman, the crown prince began shouting at Sullivan when Khashoggi’s murder was brought up

The White House has said Biden feels that the crown prince is a 'pariah' for his role in the killing of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018

The White House has said Biden feels that the crown prince is a ‘pariah’ for his role in the killing of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018

During the Trump presidency in 2019, Biden referred to bin Salman as a ‘pariah’ in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing. 

The Washington Post journalist was murdered in Turkey in 2018. The CIA has concluded with ‘high confidence’ that bin Salman ordered the assassination.

Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul tainted the crown prince’s image as a reformist. 

Earlier in June, the White House announced that Biden’s planned June visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia were being pushed back until July.  

The last reported meetings between US officials and bin Salman have not gone well.   

In September 2021 when Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to the Kingdom to meet with bin Salman, the crown prince began shouting at Sullivan when Khashoggi’s murder was brought up,  the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. 

In February, Biden asked the Saudis to increase their oil production in return for military assistance in Yemen – a request that was turned down.  

More recently, in April 2022, CIA Director William Burns met with bin Salman to ask about increasing the Saudi’s oil production and about weapons purchases the country had made from China. 

Shortly after the meeting, the Saudis announced that they were not planning to increase production and were sticking to their current timetable, denying Burns’ request.  

President Joe Biden told reporters that he hasn't decided whether to visit Saudi Arabia to beg for more oil

President Joe Biden told reporters that he hasn’t decided whether to visit Saudi Arabia to beg for more oil

In a confusing incident on June 12, President Biden told reporters that he hadn’t decided whether to visit Saudi Arabia to beg for more oil. 

Then, just seconds later, he said he was indeed planning a trip there.

‘Have you decided whether or not to go to Saudi Arabia,’ Biden is asked by a reporter. 

‘No, not yet,’ the president replies on camera. 

But moments later, as Biden spoke on the tarmac in Los Angeles at the foot of Air Force One, the president said that he was in fact going. 

‘What would be holding up the decision at this point? Are there commitments from the Saudi’s you’re waiting for?’

‘It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. That’s the reason I’m going’, he said. ‘It has to do with national security with the Israelis. It has to do with much larger issues than energy.’ 

Seconds later as Biden spoke on the tarmac at the foot of Air Force One, Biden said that he was in fact going

Seconds later as Biden spoke on the tarmac at the foot of Air Force One, Biden said that he was in fact going 

The White House was expected to announce the trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel this week, a source familiar with the planning said on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council earlier confirmed a Biden trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia was being planned. ‘We have no further trip details to confirm, but we will announce as soon as we do,’ the spokesperson said.

The visit would be aimed at bolstering relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.

Gas prices have shot up in recent months amid Russia’s continued assault of Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions western countries have imposed on Russian oil, which pulled more than 1 million barrels of oil off of global markets.

In March, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would ban Russian oil and natural gas, warning Americans that ‘defending freedom is going to cost.’

On Saturday, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline reached $5

On Saturday, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline reached $5

 But gas prices were already high at the time due to increased demand as the economy started to recover from COVID-related shutdowns, as well as increased travel demands going into the summer. 

At the same time, though, many oil companies closed a number of their refineries as demand plummeted during the pandemic. 

By Saturday, the national average price of gasoline reached $5 a gallon – up 60 cents from a month ago and up nearly two dollars from just one year ago, according to the New York Times.

The average price of gas, meanwhile, was above $4 in all 50 states – and in California, the price exceeds $6 a gallon, while in Minnesota, the price was $4.72.

Energy experts now estimate that for every penny the price of gas increases, it costs Americans an extra $4 million a day, with the average American paying $450 gas month for their fuel needs.

And research by the Bank of America Institute, which uses anonymous data from millions of their customers’ credit and debit card accounts, shows spending on gas eating up a larger share of consumers’ budgets and crowding out their ability to buy other items.

For lower-income households – defined as those with incomes below $50,000 – spending on gas reached nearly 10 percent of all spending on credit and debit cards in the last week of May, the institute said in a report this week. 

That’s up from about 7.5 percent in February, a steep increase in such a short period.



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